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Healing Spiritual Abuse: How to Break Free from Bad Church Experience Paperback – September 10, 1993


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Healing Spiritual Abuse: How to Break Free from Bad Church Experience + The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse: Recognizing and Escaping Spiritual Manipulation and False Spiritual Authority Within the Church + Toxic Faith
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 166 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Books; Fifth Printing edition (September 10, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830816607
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830816606
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.4 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #648,851 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Ken Blue is the director of Good News to the Poor, an organization that takes the gospel and business training to the developing world.

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Customer Reviews

Ken offers genuine hope for true forgiveness, freedom and healing.
David McCollum
All those who have been feeling like the church has done more harm than help to them should read this book.
Dubs70
A good read for any casual or serious churchgoer, this book crosses demoninational boundries.
Robert Doyle

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

105 of 106 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 20, 1998
Format: Paperback
Ken Blue interweaves simple, down-to-earth definitions of spiritual abuse with examples from the experiences of real people. Having grown up in an abusive church, I found it difficult even to give myself permission to pick up this book and start reading. His style was disarming, and the accounts of people's experiences were chillingly compelling. After the first few chapters, I was able for the first time in my life to use the word abuse in connection with that church.
Near the end, the author includes a checklist of characteristics of a "Significantly Abberant Christian Oraganization." Honestly scoring my church on that list is what precipitated my escape, for it gave me compelling, common-sense reasons for breaking off contact with that organization.
Walking away from spiritual abuse is a slow, painful process. My journey to healing didn't start, or end, with this book. But it was essential to one of the most significant steps I had to take in leaving the abusive environment behind.
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48 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Dubs70 on October 18, 2000
Format: Paperback
Ken Blue disucssed not only the abused side of spiritual abuse, but also covered the abuser. This was a balanced look at where spiritual abuse comes from, and steps to take to be healed from it. It had an awesome emphasis on the grace of God. All those who have been feeling like the church has done more harm than help to them should read this book. There is a firm biblical foundation in all that is written. It was an awesome book to read to get a better understanding of what is really going on whith the church, and how people are able to abuse church goers so easily. I would recommend it to all people who are in the church, be they part of the church staff or occasional church goers.
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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Robert Doyle on May 15, 1998
Format: Paperback
This book reflects the passion of the author, Ken Blue, whose theological life is focused on helping wounded church goers while being a source of correction and challenge to the status quo within Christianity. A good read for any casual or serious churchgoer, this book crosses demoninational boundries. Care and concern are expressed not only to the abused, but to the abuser as well. Any member of the clergy would be well advised to have a copy of this on hand in their library.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 21, 2003
Format: Paperback
Most books I've read on this subject focus mainly on extreme spiritual abuses. This book covers the more subtle, gray shades of abuse that are so much more common--and does so by cutting to the sources of errant teaching on authority/submission. I needed this one badly.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 11, 2003
Format: Paperback
It'd help me identify that my church was similar as the one identified in the book. I thought it was literally talking about my church which used high degree of authority, controlling our lives, and losing our freedom. I went to this church as a new Christian not really knowing what it is like to be in a body of Christ. This book helped me identify that i wasn't alone in this kind of abuse. Although it did that it does not help when it coems to bringing healing from it. it does a very good job of identifying it and describing the ones who inflict spiritual abuse upon the persons and identifythe types of victims, however it doesn't help bring solutions in healing. I kind of got really discouraged considering, although I had been out of that church a half a year ago, my Christian walk is suffering out of confusion. I wish he'd do more of how to be healed and after being in a spiritual abuse which i think most people would find it helpful.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 21, 1998
Format: Paperback
This book is very helpful in relationships, especially pastoral to congregation relationships, but is very effective in protecting the integrity of interpersonal relationships as well. Though written from a Christian perspective, it can be helpful to every religiously oriented individual. This is because, with religion being so focused on right from wrong, it is easy to overstep onto someone, and accuse them or treat them as if they have done something morally or ethically wrong, when in fact they have not. This is the general them of the book, and it is written with a sensitivity to both the abused, who need healing, and to the abuses, who also need healing and correct information. Written in clear, straight forward English, it was a pleasure to read.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 30, 2002
Format: Paperback
I highly recommend this book for anyone who is hurting from having been put down, abused, hurt, shamed or just plain bulled by their "spiritual" leader(s). Ken does an excellent job of showing what Scripture actually says about leaders and their role in the body. And he shows you just what your responsibility to the body is and where that responsibility ends. Many well meaning pastors today cross that line and Ken shows you Biblically where it is.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Ronald M. Henzel on May 27, 2005
Format: Paperback
Along with Ronald Enroth's "Churches That Abuse" and Harold L. Busséll's "Unholy Devotion," this book shares the highest place on my list of books that helped me overcome a 5-1/2 year experience (1987-1992) of intense spiritual abuse, and thus I believe it will also help others. The first chapter is "An Invitation to Freedom," and chapters 2 through 6 focus on the characteristics of spiritually abusive leadership. The brief treatment in chapter 7 of "Who Gets Hooked and Why" supplements Busséll's book (which is subtitled "Why Cults Lure Christians"), and the final three chapters ("Healed by Grace," "Healthy Church Leadership," and "Healthy Church Discipline") contain much that will help victims pursue the path of recovery.

I don't understand why the reviewer from Heidelberg came to such negative conclusions about this book. Perhaps some of its points do not translate perfectly across cultures, or into her culture in particular. Perhaps spiritual abuse manifests itself with different issues in other countries than it does in the United States. It doesn't seem she ever gave her friends with the heavy-handed pastor a chance to profit from it, and that's a shame because their response may have altered her view.

In any case, it seems clear to me that she misread the author's intention on the points where she criticized him. Nowhere did he indicate that "any time a church develops some commonalities, this is a 'danger sign' for spiritual abuse to those who come in from the outside." Instead he was addressing the issue of being "preoccupied with a desire for uniformity among believers" (p. 76), and making too much of "external signs of devotion," (p. 77), as did the Pharisees of Jesus' time.

Nor is the author against referring to our leaders as "pastors.
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